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Chapter 44 : Chapter 44
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"...I’m coming with you tonight and you can’t stop me...”
That night, Professor Dumbledore met me by the doors and accompanied me out into the night. We walked in silence for a few moments until he stopped.
“Mr Lupin,” he began, then paused. “How are you feeling?”
I didn’t want to admit to the truth; that I was feeling sick to my stomach, that I could barely walk I was shivering so much, that I didn’t know whether I would wake up in the morning with my memory intact or whether I wouldn’t be able to look my friends in the eye and know who they were.
“Not too good, Professor.”
He gazed at me with sympathetic eyes. “Madame Pomfrey and I aren’t sure -” He broke off.
“You’re not sure what’s going to happen when I transform back,” I finished for him. “You don’t know what state I’ll be in.”
He nodded gravely. “If it’s the same as last time, I’d like to have you transferred to St. Mungo’s to have some tests run. Would that be acceptable to you?”
The sick feeling in my stomach intensified. “St. Mungo’s.”
“I’m not mad, Professor,” I said stubbornly.
“Not at all,” he agreed. “But we need to know what’s wrong, Mr Lupin. There may be some way for them to help you.”
I sighed angrily. “Fine. If it’s the same as last time.”
He nodded, looking slightly relieved. “It may not be,” he added.
“Nothing I can do if it is,” I muttered.
We continued to walk. “Remus, this must be frustrating for you,” Dumbledore hedged.
I nodded in silence. ‘Frustration’ didn’t even begin to cover it. I was a nervous, emotional wreck, but I was determined to hold it together until the professor had left me.
We continued in silence, climbing into the hole at the bottom on the Whomping Willow, stooping through the passageway, finally reaching the creaking door.
“Well, Mr Lupin,” Dumbledore murmured. “I’ll leave you here.”
I nodded. “Thanks, Professor. Hopefully I’ll remember you in the morning,” I added, a little bitterly.
He smiled sadly at me. “I hope so. And, Remus. Good luck.”
I waited until he had turned the first corner before entering the Shack through the creaky door. Sirius was waiting on the bed.
“Sirius!” I hissed. “What are you doing?”
He stood up. “I told you I’d be here.”
“But - but - I just meant...he could have come in!”
Sirius smiled wryly. “I heard him say that he’d leave you there. Anyway, he didn’t. No problem.”
I smiled weakly. “Well...thank you.”
He walked over to me and hugged me. “I asked James and Peter to stay behind,” he admitted. “They wanted to come too but I thought -”
“That’s fine,” I cut him off, relived.
“So...how long until - until it begins?” he asked delicately, reaching up to brush strands of hair out of my eyes.
I considered. “Not - not long.”
He took my hand in his. “You’re shaking.”
I nodded, emotion suddenly overwhelming me. “I -”
I broke off, unable to speak. Suddenly, the tears began to flow. “Oh God, Sirius, I’m so fucking scared.”
He held me while I cried, stroking my hair and back soothingly, waited for me to stop. Finally I did.
“Hey...” he began quietly. “Don’t cry, Rem.”
I brushed the tears from my face, feeling suddenly hollow. “Whatever happens, I’ll be waiting for you when you come back,” he said quietly.
I nodded. “Thank you.”
There was silence for a moment, then I kissed him. “Sirius. I love you.”
He smiled. “Remus...I love you too.”
Suddenly the exquisite pain began to wash through me in waves. I doubled up but Sirius made me stand straight so he could pull my clothes off. Without time to fold them like I usually did, he flung them into a corner. I fell to the floor on all fours, the pain shooting along my bones. He kissed me chastely on the cheek.
“See you soon,” he whispered before transforming into his alter ego, Padfoot the dog.
The transformation had begun.
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